Body Positivity Is Great And All But Not When It's Ignoring Health Concerns

Body Positivity Is Great And All But Not When It's Ignoring Health Concerns

The popularity in body positivity affects how we view health and fitness.

The body positivity movement founded in 1996, has been one of the best movements to help women. The movement encourages women to accept their bodies while improving health and well-being. The movement, growing in popularity, has become an anthem to the plus-sized community. Since the age of super modeling, only slender women have been given the platform. Things have changed, famous plus-size model Ashley Graham has made waves. Graham a body positivity advocate is tearing down the idea of big women cannot be sexy. Women who are full-figured are sexy, they can wear lingerie and bikinis; this is the revolution.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble but, women’s bodies in the media have never been about women’s empowerment. It has been about aesthetics and sexuality. People have killed to be thin. Bigger women are embracing their bodies, wearing whatever they want. These attitudes are challenging the traditional standard of beauty. What had started out as radical love for one’s body has been diluted and reduce to shallowness adopting negative attitudes towards exercise. As a fitness advocate, the body positivity movement isn’t fighting for health or equality it is fighting for the crown of attractiveness.

On Social Media, the body positivity movement has become political. Women are sick of conforming and are sick of the ridicule for not having the perfect body, so they should be. But what about health? The movement is promoting a sedentary lifestyle. Tessa Holiday, the world’s first size 22 model and the founder of #effyourbeautystandards campaign, is well known for her ideas about body confidence. In the past, she has tweeted:

“If you want someone to preach health over self-love, I’m not your girl.”

Tweets and thoughts like these are alarming. What is the end message? Shouldn’t self-love correlate to health? Where is the line between body confidence and obesity? Media plays a power influence in acceptance, normalizing obesity, when in fact obesity is a disease as well as an epidemic. Overweight and obese people are at a higher risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Yes, skinny people can be unhealthy, but their risk is dramatically lower. For one, we have to stop associating skinny as healthy, you can be skinny and have unhealthy eating habits. It seems confidence and this self-love talk is going to people’s heads.

In the US, two-thirds of women are overweight. I have family members struggling with diseases associated with their weight, it’s not pretty. I have seen children in my church struggle to stand while begging for food. Normalizing obesity is a problem! Are advocates of this movement in denial? Are they too focused on peoples’ opinions? The message we are sending to young women and girls are radical. The pressure to be thin has been replaced with “it is okay to be obese.” Neither one is correct. When can healthy be sexy? When will we normalize health?

This new radical ideology from the Body positivity campaign is the result of fat-shaming. Celebrities like Rihanna and Katy Perry have been fat-shamed. Fat shaming is everywhere and it is unnecessary. Skinny and fit people need to back off for a minute with chastisement and encourage those that aren’t fit. People know what they look like, let’s leave it to the doctors and medical professionals to criticize. Our bodies are complex, some people cannot lose or gain weight. At the end of the day, if you love you- you will love others.

Unconditional love for yourself will result in living life in the best condition. I’m not saying women in the body positivity movement aren’t healthy, some are. I’m saying we should have people in the movement telling you healthy is better than sexy. We don’t need people giving the finger towards health! As we get older, our bodies slow down. Excessive weight puts unwanted pressure on our heart and internal organs, causing pain and joint immobility. Role models in the movement are responsible for bringing awareness to health, because what woman wearing over a size 10 wants to hear a woman who is a size 6 telling her about health.

SEE ALSO: Let's Put A Warning Label On The 'Body Positivity' Movement

Let’s get one thing straight, beauty standards are a fantasy. Women bodies are distorted images playing on the insecurities of women. We are constantly focusing on the society, how society sees me, will society accept me. Fuck that and focus on health and yourself. I have struggled with body issues too. My body frame is large and muscular; I have strong thighs and a wide back. I have overcome my struggles with tons emphasize on ton of self-help, eating healthy, and focusing on how I feel when I eat.

Even though I am athletic, I have been called fat plenty of times in my life. What I would like to see is the body positive movement be accessible to everyone having a struggle. Diversify the moment include women of color, men, burned victims, trans women. After all the goal is intersectionality. I want to see full-figured women wearing bikinis in commercials playing sports. I want to see big women on BuzzFeed being active and eating heathy. I want to see clothing stores have clothes for those who are awkward and in between small and plus-sized. Can we normalize health please! I want to see positive body positive images. Our bodies are strong and healthy. The message is you can achieve confidence while striving for your health.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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5 Things To Remember About Weight Loss

Don't obsess.

I recently just restarted my healthy lifestyle, as I had previously lost weight, but sadly gained much of it back. I have noticed many things since restarting and some of the things with how I used to try to be "healthy" are scary. But In this I will also mention a few positive things that I really enjoy about a healthy lifestyle! Now before you read mind that I AM NOT A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. I also am not trying to tell you how or why to work out. I am just giving my point of view and what I have learned from personal experience. Everyone is different.

1. Obsessive habits.

This one is scariest because I think back to when I first lost all my weight to now. Back when I first started I fixed this habit but I caught myself doing it again. For me the obsessive habit was calorie counting. Now it is totally fine to track your calories. But sometimes, it gets to be totally unhealthy. You stop listening to your body due to what you're reading on a screen. I use myfitnesspal, and I love the app. It is cool how it tells you "what you'd weigh in 5 weeks if everyday were like this". But for me I grew to be obsessive over staying under or exactly at so many calories a day. I was eating less than I should, or eating way to similar meals and foods that were making me sick. Eventually I listened to my body and felt better eating a variety, but of course the same thing every day, and it being such small things was bad. I have balanced myself better and don't get upset if I have a variety or go over my calorie limit once and awhile.

2. You feel happier.

Now I suffer from depression and anxiety. But I will say working out makes me a lot happier, and more positive. Sure it doesn't cure it, and I do have my days I skip the gym cause I'd rather be sleeping or at home hiding away. But you feel happier, more positive even if you're sweating and look like a swamp monster after walking out to your car from your Monday night cardio sesh.

3.If you need a mental health day take it, it isn't something to cry over.

I used to force myself to go to the gym everyday or workout every day. That wasn't terrible but some days I really got myself worked up over nothing because I needed one day to rest. If you need to take a break, TAKE IT. You deserve it. A break day or rest day is not a bad thing. Do not beat yourself up over not going every single day, cause working out to much can be damaging to your mental health.

4. Yoga helps.

So I chose to start yoga, as it relaxes me. It helps me feel better when my anxiety or depression is making me not want to get out to the gym or do my usual workouts. It is a great relaxer and mental break. Youtube has plenty of yoga videos and different types to try. Trust me, try yoga if you're able, it will make you feel more relaxed!

5. Don't obsess over the scale.

I am still trying to break this habit. As I am bad about obsessing over weight loss things (see number one). The scale shouldn't be your only indicator of your body and health. Listen to your body, and your mind. It isn't worth getting upset over. I know plenty of people who never weigh themselves. They just listen to their body or how their clothing fits. I choose to weight myself monthly as that is how I keep a happy medium balance with my scale. No love-hate relationship with it.

Cover Image Credit: Kyle Johnson

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College Taught Me These 4 Important Lessons About My Body

I've always been the kind of person who felt awkward when I ate in front of people, like they would judge me if I only ate a bag of chips and a Hostess Cupcake for lunch.

Being in college taught me the most about body images and how to treat my body properly. I always knew that there were false representations of bodies in the media and i knew those nuggets from McDonald's would eventually kill me, but it didn't truly register until I was on my own and no one had to remind me of these things. Experiencing the world for myself let me create my own interpretations often world around me and taught me more about my body than ever before.

1. Hydration is key

Water is the best thing for your metabolism and your skin. Ever since I started prioritizing drinking water and making it a part of my daily routine over soda and other drinks, my skin has improved drastically and my metabolism has been amazing, so drinking lots of water helps improve your health in many ways!

2. Food is okay

I've always seen food as a bad thing, especially since people started counting calories, but in reality, anything in moderation is good for you. I've always been the kind of person who felt awkward when I ate in front of people, like they would judge me if I only ate a bag of chips and a Hostess Cupcake for lunch, but anymore, I have realized that all food is good for your body as long as it's in moderation. You can eat what you want as long as you aren't purging, you feel? If you want to eat that cookie, then eat the cookie! No one should judge you by what or how you eat because your appetite is completely normal and good for your body. Food nourishes your body so don't be afraid to eat!

3. Weights over cardio

When I would work out in high school, I would always hit the elliptical and I would never see a drastic change in my body. In college, I learned that lifting and squatting weights literally changes how your body looks for the better. It's definitely hard work, but to me, it's not as hard as constant cardio!

4. Your body is perfect

The main thing I have learned about bodies and body image is that everyone has a beautiful body. Yes, there are always going to be ways to get healthier and take care of yourself as a whole, but in reality, everyone has a beautiful body and I love how humans are all so different in that way. I love walking around and seeing every body-type in shorts and a crop top because they know they're beautiful.

LIKE, YES GIRL, SHOW OFF THAT CONFIDENCE! Remember, you are BEAUTIFUL and you were made to be different than everyone else. It took me so long to realize that I didn't need to conform to what society tells me my body should look like. My curves are beautiful and yours are, too!!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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